Conference leaders gathered last week to explore ways to pursue one of our strategic priorities: creating world-transforming communities of faith. Guest speaker Mark DeYmaz, the founding pastor of the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas, based his presentation primarily on his book, Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church. He has devoted his ministry in recent years to helping Christians intentionally live out the gospel message that God’s love is meant for all people, no matter their racial ethnic background or their economic status. Quoting Jesus in John 17:21, “I pray they will be one.”
Community transformation happens when three elements work together through our ministry. (1) Spiritual engagement allows the church to give credible witness to God’s love for all people. (2) Community engagement advances justice and mercy to people everywhere. (3) Economic engagement communicates resurrection when abandoned places are reclaimed and redeemed.
Iowa is blessed with a growing number of racial ethnic groups, many of whom have worshiping congregations connected with United Methodist churches. The hope in exploring the possibilities for multi-ethnic ministry is that the conference can create more and more world-transforming communities of faith that reflect this diversity. Apportionment gifts from the United Methodist churches of Iowa provided support for this two-day gathering.